Facebook’s “Downvote” Button

Facebook has never given in to the feature most requested of them for a dislike button, but this is the closest to it.

Facebook is testing this new button on a limited number of only public post comments in order to give its customers more meaningful interaction and a chance to give feedback. A spokesperson for Facebook stated that the motivation behind the button is to create a way for people to give a signal that a comment is uncivil, inappropriate, or misleading. So far, this button is being offered to only a small number of people in the United States, just five percent of the users of Android with the language in English.

This button hides a comment and gives users reporting options like “Misleading,” “Offensive,” and “Off Topic”. That would give Facebook feedback to figure out if the said comment is irrelevant, objectionable, or an example of “fake news.” The public will not see a count of how many downvotes a particular comment gets.

Facebook has never given in to the feature most requested of them for a dislike button, but this is the closest to it. CEO Mark Zuckerberg in 2015 responded to a question about it, saying that they did not want Facebook to turn into the type of forum where people could vote up or down on the posts. But they did build Reactions options where one can respond with wow, love, sad, haha, or angry emoji. Reactions were also built into Messenger to give messages a thumbs-down sign or a thumbs-up sign to signify disagreement or agreement.

One way Facebook could cope with knowing about, and possibly burying, the objectionable and unfavorable comments would be to have the most interesting replies at the top of the posts just like they already rank comments by relevancy which are based on Likes. However, would this only open up more questions regarding censorship and deciding what is inappropriate?

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